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McAfee to wipe mess off .xxx pr0n sites

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ICM Registry, which plans to start selling .xxx domain names later this year, has inked a deal with McAfee to provide a free daily security scan for every website at a .xxx address.

The deal with the Intel-owned security business is worth $8m, according to ICM.

McAfee will scan every .xxx domain name every day for security problems such as SQL injection vulnerabilities, phishing and browser exploits, ICM said.

As a result, any porn surfer who has installed McAfee's free SiteAdvisor plug-in will be able to verify the security of any .xxx site before deciding whether to visit or make a purchase or download.

In addition, porn webmasters will be able to install a code snippet on their shopping carts that displays a McAfee SECURE "trust mark", which McAfee claims can improve conversions.

The regular McAfee SECURE service costs $360 a year if bought on the McAfee website, covering four IP addresses, so ICM seems to have secured a significant bulk discount.

Domain registrars are expected to sell .xxx addresses for between $75 and $130 per year, with $60 of that going to ICM and its policy body.

McAfee currently says 80,000 sites use this service. With ICM expecting as many as 500,000 registrations in its first year, the deal could significantly boost McAfee's market share.

ICM hopes this service and other planned add-ons will help persuade some of its long-time critics in the porn industry that .xxx is more than just a cynical money-grab.

Some domain registrars already offer security scanning as an up-sell to their domains and hosting services, but ICM is believed to be the first to offer this at the registry level.

When new top-level domains begin to launch in 2013, as a result of the expansion announced by ICANN last week, it is expected that many more registries will begin to bundle additional products, such as SSL certificates, with domain names.

ICM plans to make .xxx domains generally available on 6 December, with a trademark protection "sunrise" period beginning 7 September. A "landrush" for premium names will begin 24 October. ®

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